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Another SpaceShipTwo Test Flight this Month? | Parabolic Arc

Another SpaceShipTwo Test Flight this Month? | Parabolic Arc | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

“Our aspiration is to get to space by the end of the year,” said Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides. “That depends on a lot of things happening before then, but that’s our goal.”

 

The company completed the first rocket-powered flight of its space vehicle, SpaceShipTwo, on April 29 in the Mojave Desert. A second flight is expected this month as part of Virgin’s strategy to go higher and faster on each test run until reaching suborbital.

 

In the first flight, the ship successfully fired its rockets and accelerated to the speed of sound.

 

“We didn’t go tremendously high, because the first test was basically aimed at reaching supersonic speed,” Whitesides told the Journal . “In our next powered flight, the ship will burn a bit longer, and it will go a bit faster and a bit higher.”

 

 

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How asteroid mining can allow us to travel to space | Nina Hooper | TEDxHarvardCollege | YouTube


Imagine a world with ubiquitous, affordable space travel, where getting in a spaceship is no stranger than getting in an airplane. Harvard undergraduate Nina Hooper, an astrophysics student, shows how mining asteroids for platinum could be the way to make space travel cheap and accessible to civilians.

Nina Hooper is a Harvard College student from Melbourne, Australia studying astrophysics. She loves traveling and adventure and
is working towards what she believes is the ultimate adventure - going to space. She is also a private pilot, a songwriter and a major foodie. Nina intends to pursue a graduate degree in aerospace and astrospace engineering either in the US or UK.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx

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Filling in the details | The Space Review

Filling in the details | The Space Review | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Passage of a new commercial space bill last year marked the end of one effort, but the beginning of another. Jeff Foust reports on the various reports required by the bill and its implications for future commercial space legislation, either this year or beyond.

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SES: We plan Feb. 24 SpaceX launch of SES-9 satellite | SpaceNews.com

SES: We plan Feb. 24 SpaceX launch of SES-9 satellite | SpaceNews.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


PARIS—Satellite fleet operator SES on Feb. 8 said it is targeting Feb. 24 for the launch of its SES-9 telecommunications satellite aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 Full-Thrust rocket, a launch that has been repeatedly delayed since September.

Luxembourg-based SES said SpaceX has agreed to modify the SES-9 launch profile to permit the satellite to enter commercial service in before July, as was planned in December, before the latest series of launch delays.

SES did not immediately respond to requests for comment on what flight modifications Hawthorne, California-based SpaceX had agreed to make to reduce the time from when the satellite is dropped off in transfer orbit to its arrival at its operational position in geostationary orbit.

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SES-9 LAUNCH TARGETING LATE FEBRUARY | SES.com

SES-9 LAUNCH TARGETING LATE FEBRUARY | SES.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


LUXEMBOURG, 8 February 2016 -- SES S.A. (NYSE Euronext Paris and Luxembourg Stock Exchange: SESG) announced today that it is targeting a 24 February 2016 launch date (with a backup date of the 25th) for its new satellite, SES-9. This date was mutually set by SES and the launch operator for SES-9, SpaceX, the Hawthorne, California based company that designs, manufactures and launches the Falcon 9 rocket and other spacecraft. SpaceX is currently completing an extended series of testing and pre-flight validation in advance of the SES-9 launch, which will take place at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

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Advanced space propulsion startup shuts down | SpaceNews.com

Advanced space propulsion startup shuts down | SpaceNews.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


WASHINGTON — A Colorado company that said last year it had achieved a technological breakthrough in space transportation has decided to shut down, citing the high costs and risks associated with further development.

Escape Dynamics of Broomfield, Colorado, announced on its website recently that it decided to wind down its operations because its “external propulsion” technology was not attractive enough to potential investors to fund its continued development.

“While microwave propulsion is feasible and is capable of efficiency and performance surpassing chemical rockets, the cost of completing the R&D all the way through operations makes the concept economically unattractive for our team at this time,” the company stated in a brief note posted on its website.

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Spotlight TEDx Talk: How asteroid mining could help us live in space

Spotlight TEDx Talk: How asteroid mining could help us live in space | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


Astrophysics student Nina Hooper wants space travel to be more accessible. How does she thinks that will happen? Asteroid mining. “Asteroids are like floating mountains in space full of valuable resources that we can extract,” Hooper says in a talk at TEDxHavardCollege. “Through these resources, we can incentivize the development of infrastructure and transportation in the nearby solar system, and with this infrastructure in place, human space travel becomes easier and cheaper, too.”

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New effort to put teachers in space

New effort to put teachers in space | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


Thirty years after the death of teacher Christa McAuliffe, a group of educators looks to once again reach for the stars.

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U.S. private space companies plan surge in launches this year


CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., Feb 3 (Reuters) - U.S. private space companies Space Exploration Technologies and United Launch Alliance, a partnership of Lockheed Martin and Boeing, have scheduled more than 30 launches from Florida this year, up from 18 last year, according to company and Air Force officials.


The jump in planned launches reflects increasing demand for commercial communications and imaging satellites, as well as business from the U.S. military, International Space Station cargo ships and a NASA asteroid sample return mission. SpaceX and ULA fly from pads at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, just south of NASA's spaceport.

"We want to be able to fly every week, for sure, if not multiple times in a week," SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell said at a webcast commercial space conference in Washington D.C. on Wednesday.

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Luxembourg to invest in space-based asteroid mining | SpaceNews.com

Luxembourg to invest in space-based asteroid mining | SpaceNews.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


PARIS —The Luxembourg government on Feb. 3 announced it would seek to jump-start an industrial sector to mine asteroid resources in space by creating regulatory and financial incentives.

The incentives include co-investment in research and development and, eventually, direct capital investment in space resource-mining companies setting up shop in Luxembourg.

Announced by Vice Prime Minister Etienne Schneider, who is also the nation’s economics minister, the initiative has already lured U.S.-based Deep Space Industries of Mountain View, California, to create a Luxembourg subsidiary. Schneider said other U.S. companies, including SpaceX of Hawthorne, California, and Planetary Resources of Redmond, Washington, are in talks with Luxembourg authorities regarding the Spaceresources.lu venture.

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Nield, Bridenstine Make Case for Expanding FAA/AST's Authorities


The head of the FAA's Office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST) and a key Member of Congress are making the case for expanding AST's regulatory responsibilities to include much more than commercial launches and reentries. Both spoke at the first day of AST's annual Commercial Space Transportation Conference, which continues today (Wednesday). The Commercial Spaceflight Federation is webcasting the event.

Over the past year, interest has grown in both the government and commercial space sectors over what agency should have the responsibility for ensuring U.S. compliance with Article VI of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty that requires governments to "authorize and continually supervise" the activities of their non-government entities, such as companies. U.S. companies have been operating in space since the 1960s, primarily commercial communications and remote sensing satellites, but the potential expansion of commercial activities to other realms, such as asteroid mining or habitats on the lunar surface, is raising the visibility of the issue of who in the U.S. government is responsible for that task.

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SpaceX Wins 2016 Space Achievement Award | Space Foundation

SpaceX Wins 2016 Space Achievement Award | Space Foundation | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Feb. 1, 2016) - In December 2015, SpaceX, a known pioneer in the space industry, successfully landed the first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket. The Falcon 9 left Cape Canaveral in Florida, delivered 11 satellites to orbit and historically landed the first stage minutes later. For that achievement, the Space Foundation has selected SpaceX to receive one of its top honors, the 2016 Space Achievement Award.

"Space is a risky business, but SpaceX continues to push the envelope in innovation, moving humanity forward. The work being done by SpaceX will reduce cost and overhead for space travel, making exploration more accessible," said Space Foundation Chief Executive Officer Elliot Pulham.

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Using space resources to help all of humanity | The Space Review

Using space resources to help all of humanity | The Space Review | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

The promise of accessing space resources on the Moon or asteroids brings with it the potential of massive wealth. Greg Anderson discusses how that can be used to benefit not just the companies involved but also those on Earth less well off.

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Creating a July 20 space exploration day holiday | The Space Review

Creating a July 20 space exploration day holiday | The Space Review | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

There’s no single holiday in the United States devoted to space exploration. J. David Baxter discusses the history of his efforts to create one, and the importance of having one.

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Review: SpaceX’s Dragon | The Space Review

Review: SpaceX’s Dragon | The Space Review | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft, designed to carry cargo and eventually people, is perhaps just as important to the company as its launch vehicles. Jeff Foust reviews a book that offers what turns out to be a disappointing history of the vehicle’s development.

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SpaceX prepares for SES-9 mission and Dragon’s return | NASASpaceFlight.com

SpaceX prepares for SES-9 mission and Dragon’s return | NASASpaceFlight.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


Two SpaceX missions have received preliminary planning dates for their upcoming launches out of Cape Canaveral. The Falcon 9 launch with the SES-9 satellite is now aiming for a February 24 liftoff from SLC-40, while the Dragon spacecraft is set to return to action NET (No Earlier Than) April 1 for her CRS-8 mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

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SpaceX targeting Feb. 24 Falcon 9 launch of SES-9

SpaceX targeting Feb. 24 Falcon 9 launch of SES-9 | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


SpaceX is targeting a Feb. 24 launch of a Falcon 9 rocket carrying a European communications satellite from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Luxembourg-based SES, the owner of the SES-9 satellite, this morning announced the launch plans, which include a backup opportunity on Feb. 25. No launch windows were released.

The mission has been delayed since December while SpaceX readies an upgraded version of the Falcon 9 that will be launching for the second time.

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Gerstenmaier: LEO Commercialization Requires Space Industry to Be Innovative, Nimble


NASA’s Bill Gerstenmaier said on Wednesday (February 3) that the key to successful commercialization of low Earth orbit (LEO) is for the space industry to become more innovative and nimble.

Commercial satellite systems like Iridium that were intended to provide voice and data services to underserved parts of the globe lost out to undersea fiber optic cables and terrestrial cell phone towers because the aerospace industry moved too slowly, he argued. “We have to be extremely nimble. … We as an industry were so slow in doing that we got whacked by a terrestrial market that could turn and deliver faster.”

The same threat hangs over potential use of the near-zero gravity environment available in LEO for applications in areas such as pharmaceuticals. Electrophoresis was once envisioned as a promising area for space commercialization because without gravity much purer substances can be produced. However, back on Earth, genetic engineering advances made it possible to do almost as good a job. “We could create a 99% pure insulin on orbit, [but] they could create a 98% pure insulin through genetic engineering. That won because they could turn to the market faster and be responsive.”

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NASA offers more details on cargo contract decision | SpaceNews.com

NASA offers more details on cargo contract decision | SpaceNews.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


WASHINGTON — NASA documents about the selection of commercial cargo contracts announced in January show that SpaceX had the highest technical ratings of the three winning companies, but also, by one metric, the highest price.

NASA released Feb. 5 the source selection statement for the Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) 2 contracts, which the agency awarded Jan. 14 to Orbital ATK, Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) and SpaceX to transport cargo to and from the International Space Station. The statement provides details about NASA’s evaluation of the CRS-2 proposals and the rationale for selecting the winning companies.

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VAFB commander goes over 2016 plans, including base's first rocket landing

VAFB commander goes over 2016 plans, including base's first rocket landing | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


With at least 10 rocket launches planned for 2016, as well as what could be the West Coast’s first-ever rocket landing, this year is shaping up to be one of Vandenberg Air Force Base’s most exciting in recent memory, according to 30th Space Wing Commander Col. J Christopher Moss.

With an audience composed primarily of elected officials and other business and community leaders, Moss went over some of the base’s accomplishments of 2015 before enthusiastically looking at what lies ahead for the remainder of this year.

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SpaceX seeks to accelerate Falcon 9 production and launch rates this year | SpaceNews.com

SpaceX seeks to accelerate Falcon 9 production and launch rates this year | SpaceNews.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


WASHINGTON — SpaceX plans to ramp up the production and launch of its Falcon 9 rocket this year while introducing its Falcon Heavy rocket and completing a key test of its commercial crew vehicle, the company’s president said Feb. 3.

“It’s a really interesting year for us,” Gwynne Shotwell said in a speech at the Federal Aviation Administration’s annual Commercial Space Transportation Conference, citing work on the company’s launch vehicles, Dragon spacecraft and launch facilities.

One area of emphasis was accelerating the production and launch rate for the Falcon 9. “We’ve had the luxury in years past of having to build only a few rockets a year,” she said, “so we really weren’t in a production mode.” Last year would have been the first to require a high production rate of the rocket, she said, had it not been for the June launch failure that halted flights for nearly six months.

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Luxembourg wants to become the NASA of asteroid mining

Luxembourg wants to become the NASA of asteroid mining | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


Luxembourg intends to one day become a major hub for deep-space commercial operations.

The country announced Wednesday it plans to help foster the growth of an asteroid-mining industry. Luxembourg, with a population roughly the size of Albuquerque (562,000), said it is the first European country to provide the legal and regulatory framework to ensure asteroid prospectors retain ownership of the precious metals they extract.

Luxembourg officials also said the country will invest in research and development, as well as into companies already “active in the field.” The goal is to stimulate economic growth on Earth and “offer new horizons” in space exploration.

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New commercial space legislation unlikely this year | SpaceNews.com

New commercial space legislation unlikely this year | SpaceNews.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


WASHINGTON — After passing the most comprehensive commercial space legislation in years in 2015, officials expect to spend this year preparing and reviewing reports required by that law rather than taking up new legislation.

In a speech Feb. 2 at the Federal Aviation Administration’s annual Commercial Space Transportation Conference here, the head of the FAA’s space office said his staff will be busy this year working on several reports mandated by the U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act, which became law in November.

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Blue Origin provides glimpses of the rocket road ahead

Blue Origin provides glimpses of the rocket road ahead | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Blue Origin, the space venture founded by Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos, is lifting the curtain just a bit on its future plans for rocket engines and spaceflights.

One of the revelations relates to progress on its methane-fueled BE-4 rocket engine, which is on track to provide propulsion for United Launch Alliance’s next-generation Vulcan rocket.

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Nuclear fusion gets boost from private-sector startups

Nuclear fusion gets boost from private-sector startups | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

The lab where a company called General Fusion is trying to spark an energy revolution looks like a cross between a hardware store and a mad scientist’s lair. Bins full of electrical gadgets are piled high against the walls. Capacitors recycled from a bygone experiment are stacked up like bottles in wine racks. Ten-foot-high contraptions bristle with tangled wires and shiny plumbing.

Michael Delage, General Fusion’s vice president for strategy and corporate development, makes sure nothing is turned on when he takes a visitor through the lab, which is tucked away in a bland industrial park near Vancouver. He’s worried about the voltage.

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Settling space is the only sustainable reason for humans to be in space | The Space Review

Settling space is the only sustainable reason for humans to be in space | The Space Review | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

A recent commentary argued that, for a variety of reasons, humans will never settle Mars or other destinations beyond Earth. Dale Skran counters that settlement is ultimately the only reason for humans to be in space.

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